Workers searching for a new job and fresh start to start 2023 are being warned to not fall victim to fraudulent adverts which experts say more than double at this time of year.
January and February, says the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), are peak months within the recruitment calendar which in turn provides prime opportunities for scammers to exploit.
Instances of people sharing identity details, addresses and even banking information in the mistaken belief they are in line for new employment are commonplace, say officials, who are warning job hunters to remain on their guard.
Keith Rosser, chairman of organisation JobsAware, said a shift since the pandemic that has encouraged remote working and consequently virtual hiring is also partly to blame as increasing numbers of people communicate via the internet.
He explains: “Job scams continue to bring misery to people looking for work. In January we anticipate we will receive more than double the number of reports of monetary losses due to job scams when compared with December.
“With the increase in remote job opportunities since the pandemic and the advance of technology making a lot of hiring virtual, it is increasingly easy for fraudsters to fool job seekers. In a recent JobsAware survey, 74 per cent of jobseekers reported applying for at least one job they suspected did not exist.”
For those looking for a job this month, and concerned about getting caught-out, the DBS has suggested seven things people should look-out for.
1. Poorly written adverts
Does the job advert you’re reading sound legitimate? Information such as roles and responsibilities, desired experience, working hours and expectations, and maybe even a salary guide should be among the information you should expect to read. Job adverts that withhold some of the most basic information should be treated as suspicious says DBS. .
2. Suspicious contact details
Are the contact details legitimate? The advice is to look out for a direct contact person, full name or personal email address that is traceable to a company. Be wary if your advert has no point of contact with an advert or has a number with no name.
3. An unrealistic salary
Do your research. Does the salary being advertised not seem to match the role you’re applying for? This could be a way, says DBS officials, of attracting attention and drawing you into a role that does not actually exist in order to gather personal information or bank details.
4. Offers without an interview
Being offered a job or new role automatically without having met a member of the hiring company should automatically be a red flag, says JobsAware. When applying for new roles you should always ask to meet either face-to-face or online in a virtual meeting with the hiring manager or a lead at the company before exchanging too much information or accepting a role.
5. Being asked for money
It sounds like straightforward advice – but do not ever send money before starting a job urges JobsAware. This includes money you are told is needed for training, uniforms, or even DBS checks. These, in most instances, should be provided by the employer, say officials, but if a contribution is for any reason required nothing should happen before you’re in the role.
6. Illegitimate companies and emails
If alarm bells are ringing, company details feel scant or vague and you are unsure of the legitimacy of a company, you can check this using Companies House via the website GOV UK.
7. UK domains
Online jobs, says Jobs Aware, can be legitimate but do require extra vigilance says DBS which is expressing additional caution if dealing with potential new employers virtually.
If the domain is outside the UK candidates should ensure they look into the company further before pursuing an application.